The Ego Trap and the Fall

 

Value: Right attitude

Sub value: Humility

There was once a learned scientist.

After a lot of practice and efforts, he developed a formula and learned the art of reproducing many copies of himself. He did it so perfectly that it was impossible to tell the reproduction from the original.

One day while doing his research, he realized that the Angel of Death was searching for him. In order to remain immortal, he reproduced a dozen copies of himself. The reproduction was so meticulous that all of them looked exactly like him.

Now when this Angel of Death came down, he was at a loss to know which of the thirteen before him was the original scientist, so confused, he left them all alone and returned to heaven.

But, not for long.  For being an expert in human nature, the Angel came up with a clever idea. He said to the scientist addressing all thirteen of them, “Sir, you must be a genius to have succeeded in making such perfect reproduction formula of yourself. However, I have discovered a flaw in your work, just one tiny little flaw.”

The scientist immediately jumped out and shouted, “Impossible! where is the flaw?”

“Right here,” said the Angel, as he picked up the scientist from among the reproductions and carried him off.

The whole purpose of the scientist and his formula of reproduction failed as he could not control his pride and lost his life.

Learning:

We must always inculcate the habit of being humble. Humility is a quality which will help us to be calm and act wisely when we have to achieve a task which is impossible. So let us be humble and patient and think twice before taking decisions.

Ego is ‘Everything of me and nothing of you’.

Surrender is ‘Nothing of me and everything of you’.

Each one is unique in God’s creation

Value: Right Attitude

Sub Value: Contentment and uniqueness

A samurai who was known for his nobility and honesty went to visit a Zen monk to ask him for his advice.

When the monk had finished his prayers, the Samurai asked, “Why do I feel so inferior? I have faced death many times and have defended those who are weak. However, upon seeing you meditating, I felt that my life had absolutely no importance whatsoever.”

“Wait. Once I have attended to all those who come to see me today, I shall answer you,” replied the monk.

The samurai spent the whole day sitting in the temple gardens, watching the people go in and out in search of advice. He saw how the monk received them all with the same patience and the same illuminated smile on his face.

At nightfall, when everyone had gone, he demanded, “Now! can you teach me?”

The master invited him in and lead him to his room. The full moon shone in the sky, and the atmosphere was one of profound tranquility. “Do you see the moon, how beautiful it is? It will cross the entire firmament, and tomorrow the sun will shine once again. But sunlight is much brighter and can show the details of the landscape around us- trees, mountains, and clouds. I have contemplated on the two for years and have never heard the moon say, ” Why do I not shine like the sun? Is it because I am inferior?”

“Of course not,” answered the samurai. “The moon and the sun are different entities, and each has its own beauty. You cannot compare the two.”

“So you know the answer. We are two different people, each fighting in his own way for that which he believes, and making it possible to make the world a better place; the rest are mere appearances.”

Do not compare yourself with anybody. Compare yourself with yourself, for yourself, and by yourself. We are all uniquely pottered and purposed by our creator!

Learning :

We must be happy and contented with whatever capabilities we are blessed with. We should not envy or compare ourselves with others because each of us is unique in our own ways.

Our similarities are different!

Happiness comes from within

Value: Right attitude

Sub value: Contentment, wisdom

We often see inequalities in society.  It comprises people who do mean tasks and some others who do white-collar jobs. Although this inequality exists everywhere, many questions about it make us wonder-

Where did inequality come from?

Why does it continue?

How do we justify inequality?

Can we eliminate inequality?

Can we make a society in which people are equal?

Here is a short story that gives a clear message not only from the spiritual point of view but also for the functioning of society at the secular level. The message is, ” Why we need this differentiation in our society?”

There once was a king ruling his kingdom peacefully and happily.

But, he was extremely sensitive to the inequalities that existed in his kingdom. He would say, “I want to pray to God to make everybody rich like me. Why should all of them not be like kings?”

So, he went to the forest and meditated for a long time. Finally, God appeared and asked him what he wants.

The king said, “God, why are there so many troubles and difficulties? Why are some rich and the rest poor? Why can’t all be the same?”

God asked, “Are you sure you want this?”

The king said, “Yes, God. This is the type of kingdom I want.”

God said, “Ok, if this is really what you want I grant you your wish.”

The king was really happy and as he moved back to his city after crossing the forest, he suddenly found that the whole picture had changed.

The roads were dirty; all clothes were lying on the roadsides, unwashed; the drains were overflowing, and the king wondered what had happened in the few days that he was away.

He entered the palace and there too, he noticed that everything was in a tattered condition.

Then it dawned on him that all the people in his kingdom had become wealthy and had risen the ladder, like him. All his subjects were now potential kings. So, nobody wanted to wash clothes or clean the roads.

It then struck him about the mistake he had made by asking for a wrong wish because this sort of equality does not allow the society to function in a balanced manner.

Of course, the king went back to the forest and apologised to God.

God appeared again in all His mercy and said, “Ok, now that you have understood the truth, things will come back to their normal shape.”

There are plenty of people who have all the luxuries in life but are unhappy, and plenty of people who have very little but are happy.

The difference lies solely in the quality of their perception. Happiness comes from within, not from the outside. To live in a harmonious community, it is important that inequality remains but not marginalized to the extent that one side is above the other.

Learning:

Happiness comes from within. Therefore we should not be carried away by external situations. We must be contented with what we possess and use the wisdom to deal with situations in a balanced manner so that we can be peaceful and happy.

Do not quit

Poet: John Greenleaf Whittier (1807 – 1892)

Value: Truth

Sub value: Perseverance

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about

When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–

You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out–

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems so far;

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–

It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Learning: Life is meant to be a series of challenges that we overcome, not avoid

Never give up confidence under any circumstance. Perseverance with a positive attitude is the only way to achieve our aspirations and future dreams.

Guru Poornima

Sri Sathya Sai Balvikas Guru Hand Book ( Group -I)

Guru Poornima is celebrated to pay our homage to the most sacred Guru Ved Vyasa. Guru Vyasa arranged the Vedas in their present order for the benefit of mankind ( There are four Vedas- Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva). Guru Poornima is also called Vyasa Poornima, a holy day.

The Vedas are eternal truths, the creative forces of the cosmos with the will of the God behind them. The truths in the vedas rightly form the basis of all knowledge and religion. At the end of the Dwapara age, these truths were fast disappearing and were being forgotten by the man in general. There was no order, no system. It required a great mind which could classify them and make them useful to every genuine scholar or seeker of Truth-Dharma.

It was Vyasa who completed this task, and because of this, he is called as Veda Vyasa. He is the son of great rishi Parashara and great-grandson of Saptarishi Vashisht who was a great sage, author, and teacher. He was also a great devotee and a benefactor of mankind.

Saint Vyasa has composed Brahma Sutras, Epic Mahabharatha, Shrimad Bhagavatam, and Bhagvad Gita.

This day should be celebrated with prayer and contrition, which alone can heal the heart and not feasting or fasting that only affects the body. It’s a full moon day when the moon shines without any hindrance; it is bright, cool, and full. The mind of the man is compared to the moon for it is wayward as the moon. As the moon swings from brightness to darkness this day, mind too with in minutes keeps shifting from being happy to sad.

VITHOBA

Once a devotee named Pundalik was traveling to Kashi and reached the Ashram of Saint Kukkut. He asked the sage the way to Kashi. Kukkut rishi said that he did not know the way to Kashi and he had never been there. Pundalik made fun of Kukkut rishi for not knowing the way to Kashi and said that a holy man like him should have already visited Kashi.  Kukkut rishi kept quiet and did not bother to answer Pundalik.

During the course of the night at Kukkut rishi’s ashram, Pundalik heard the voices of women in the ashram. He came out to look at what was happening and saw that three women were sprinkling water and cleaning the Ashram. On inquiry, Pundalik found out that the three women were Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswathi, and they had come to clean the Ashram of Kukkut Rishi.

Pundalik wondered how saint Kukkut, who had not visited Kashi, was such holy and powerful that the three holy rivers came down to purify his ashram. The three women told Pundalik that piety, spirituality, and devotion do not depend on visiting holy places or doing costly rituals but in performing one’s karma. The three women told him that Sage Kukkut had served and nursed his parents most faithfully and devoted all his life to that one aim. He had thus accumulated punya enough to earn Moksha and bring us down to earth to serve him.

Pundalik had left his old parents at home and was visiting Kashi to gain moksha and blessing. He did not bother to entertain the request of his parents to take them also to Kashi. Pundalik now understood his mistake and rushed back home and took his parents to Kashi and on return started looking after them; from then onwards, the care of his old mother and father came before everything else.

Lord Krishna was moved by the sincere devotion of Pundalik towards his parents and decided to visit Pundalik’s home. When Lord Krishna visited Pundalik’s home, he was serving food to his old parents. Pundalik saw the Lord at his door but his devotion to his parents was so intense that he wanted to finish his duties first and then attend to his guest. He had reached such a stage that it didn’t matter to him whether the guest was a mere mortal or God. All that mattered was service to his parents. Pundalik gave Lord Krishna a brick to stand on and asked Him to wait until his duty was completed.

Lord Krishna was pleased by the sincere devotion of Pundalik to his parents and waited for him patiently. Later, when Pundalik came out, he asked the Lord forgiveness for making Him wait. Lord Krishna blessed him and asked him to ask a boon. Pundalik said, ” What more can I ask when the Lord himself waits for me.” When Lord Krishna insisted that he ask a boon.  Pundalik asked that the Lord should remain on earth and bless and take care of His devotees. Lord Krishna agreed to stay there and is known as Vithoba or the Lord who stands on a brick.

This form of the Lord Vithoba is Swayambhu which means that His idol has not been carved or etched but it came into existence on its own. This mystery happened in Pandharpur in Maharashtra, and hence, Vithoba is also called as Panduranga or Pandharinatha.

Learning:

Pundalik was a devotee of Lord Krishna and dedicated to the service of his parents; he was sincere in serving his parents.  One has to perform his/ her duties first. Devotion in any form reaches God swiftly, and God showers his grace and blessings on such devotees.

Dualistic level of Reality

Value: Optimism/ Truth

Sub value: Respect for others/Acceptance

A Spanish tale

Once there was a Meeting of tools—Hammer, Screw, Sandpaper, Tape

, and  Saw—to fix their differences.

The had of the meeting was Hammer. But it was decided by all other members that he had to resign. Reason? He was too noisy and pounding all the time. Everyone wanted the Screw to head the meeting.

Hammer accepted the verdict about himself but he wanted Screw also to resign. Reason? They had to make him do many turns to perform one single act. So he recommended Sandpaper to be the head and lead the meeting.

Screw accepted the verdict about himself but he wanted Sandpaper also to resign. Why? Because he was very rough in the treatment. According to the screw, the tape was the best choice for heading the meeting.

Sandpaper accepted the verdict about himself but he wanted the Tape also to resign. Why? Because he always spent time measuring others according to his level, as if he were the only one perfect.

At that precise moment came in the carpenter, he put on the apron and started his work. He created a piece of attractive furniture out of the country wood using the Hammer, the SandPaper, the Tape, the Saw, and the Screw.

When the carpenter finished the work, the assembly restarted its deliberation. It was then the Saw took the floor and said, “Gentlemen, all of you spoke about our defects, but the carpenter made use of our best qualities. That makes us valuable. So, let’s stop contemplating on our bad points, and let’s concentrate on the usefulness of our good points.”

The assembly then realised that:

The Hammer was strong.

The Screw joined and gave reinforcement.

The SandPaper polished and filed down roughness.

The Tape helped to be precise and exact.

We live in a dualistic level of reality. The fact that there exists ‘yin and yang’, ‘day and night’ in life, confirms that everything in this world exists at a dualistic level. These dualities exist in ourselves too in the form of joy and sorrow, success and failure, inspiration and depression, likes and dislikes, etcetera.

Wisdom lies in exploring this duality and allowing life to flow moment to moment, exactly as it is intended, embracing both positive and negative with open arms.

The duality of one is the unity of two.

 Learning:

We must always cultivate the habit of being optimistic and respect the qualities one possesses, irrespective of whatever the qualities maybe.

“Oneness is the absolute truth, duality is an illusion.” – Shradha Shukla

 

Discovering a new way of life

Value: Confidence, Self-Belief

Sub value: Inner strength,  Recognize your true self

In the mid-1970s, when he was about to complete his doctorate in physics, the scientist Stephen Hawking – who was already carrying the disease that would gradually paralyse all his movements – heard a doctor say of him that he had only two more years to live.

Right then, he thought to himself, ‘Now that I don’t need to worry about things like pensions or paying the bills, I can concentrate on trying to understand the Universe.’ since the disease was progressing rapidly, he was forced to come up with ways of explaining his ideas as simply and as briefly as possible.

Two and a half years went by, twenty years went by, and Hawking kept working on his dream ideas. He could communicate his highly abstract ideas through a tiny computer, with a vocabulary of only 500 words, hooked up to his wheelchair.  Hawking achieved success with works of popular science in which he discussed his own theories and cosmology in general. He wrote his classic “A Brief History of Time ( 1988) ” and was responsible for creating an entirely new vision of modern physics. This book is very popular and well-known; it  was on the London Sunday Times bestseller list for over 4 years and was Times best-sellers list for a record-breaking 237 weeks

Hawking died on March 14, 2018. After suffering from a motor neuron disease related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a condition that progressed over the years. He was almost entirely paralysed and could manage to communicate through a speech-generating device.

Rather than leading him into a life of complete disability, the illness forced him to discover a new way of thinking. “It is a waste of time to be angry about my disability. One has to get on with life and I haven’t done badly. People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining”, Stephen Hawking, he further said, “Fear is the biggest disability of all, it paralyzes you more than being in a wheelchair”.

Learning:

In life however difficult a situation is, we should move on with confidence, which helps us to realize our inner strength thereby helping us to achieve the ultimate goal.

Goat and Mind

(From : ‘Thapovanam’ Sri Sathya Sai Sathcharithra by “Santisri” Jandhyala Venkateswara Sastry)

Why must we follow discipline? Read the following powerful story for the answer.

A king called several villagers together and gifted each of them a goat with an order that every animal should be well fed by its keeper. But he imposed just a single condition. When the goats were brought back to him when ordered, they should not be eating green leaves at all. In fact, they should display total distaste for leaves. As an incentive to the villagers, he announced a reward of ten thousand rupees to the villagers who would successfully tend the goats as directed.

The villagers thought that if a goat was fully fed, and if its stomach was full, it could take nothing more; it would refuse even green leaves. So they made it a habit to feed the animals so fully that they would not wish to touch anything. A girl, however, followed a different method of training her goat. She placed green leaves before the goat and when the animal was about to feed on them, she gave a beating on its mouth with a stick. Repetition of this procedure had the effect of deterring the animal from touching green leaves even when they were placed right before it, although its stomach was not full.

Sometime later, the king ordered the villagers to present the goats for inspection. He found that the goats started eating leaves as soon as they were placed before them. But there was one goat that was not even looking at the leaves. Instead, it was looking at the stick its keeper held. The king was delighted and promptly presented ten thousand rupees to the girl who successfully trained that particular goat in the manner ordered by him. Control of mind also requires similar hard training and severe discipline.

Hence, there is no doubt that the only way to conquer the mind is to practice discipline to follow rules.

What do you think? Write in the comments below.

Dig your roots deep into the soil

Value: Good conduct/Right attitude

Sub value: Honesty/mental strength

A six-year-old boy visited a shop every day. He had been wandering around the aisles of the shop looking at the shelves packed with alluring items. Chocolates in shining wrappers, sweets in colourful papers, cookies in tempting shapes………….. But, he never touched nor bought anything.

Salesmen, in general, are well aware of this kind of suspicious people, so they keep a watch on them and try to get rid of them as early as possible.

“Hey, why are you just hanging around without buying anything?” asked the salesman gruffly.

“I’m not going to buy anything,” replied the boy calmly

“Then what are you doing here? This is your third time around. Make up your mind about what to buy or go home.”

“I am just training,” said the boy more calmly.

“Training? What training?” asked the puzzled salesman.

“I’m training my honesty.”

“What?” The man looked more puzzled. He had never heard anyone saying anything like this before.

“Hey, How do you do that?” he asked.

“This is how– I pass several times by the shelf with cookies and chocolates and look at them……they look back at me…I tell them, ‘ Go on…keep looking at me. I don’t care about you…I don’t want you’. At first, it wasn’t easy. But now, after training my mind I can look at them and pass by easily.”

The salesman was stunned. Here was a boy who was revealing the stunning truth—that of training your honesty.

Thereafter, whenever the boy entered the shop, the salesman had a warm smile on his face and proudly told everyone, “Here is our little boy who trains his honesty”.

Stand strong, dig your roots deep into the soil, you will make it through the storms of life.

Learning:

Honesty is a good value one should cultivate, which in turn will help us to be truthful and contented, and thereby, we will always be peaceful.

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